wings and things

Imagined conversation 109

Me: Now that I have a title for our book, I know how to structure it.

Anthony: That’s good, Jules.

Me: Do you remember, during your dementia experience, how you used to get words and concepts and memories a bit mixed up?

Anthony: Vaguely, yes.

Me: You’d say things like, “hose the kettle” or “feed the hay” or “sweep the dog.”

Anthony: Did I?

Me: It was as if you had too many things on your mind at once.

Anthony: Yes, I remember being muddled but I’m not muddled any more, Jules.

Me: I know, Ants, but I want our book to reflect some of how that muddled experience affected us all – you, me, Ming, Grandma, and so many others.

Anthony: I sense a question?

Me: Would it be okay with you if I called the book: Sweeping the dog: a love story about Parkinsons disease dementia?

Anthony: I suppose so although it seems a bit longwinded. You’re the writer, Jules – you’ll figure it out.

Me: My other idea for a book title is Anthony’s smile, but that’s a bit too ambiguous.

Anthony: What about A happy ending?

Me: You always have to have the last word, Ants – unbelievable!


Imagined conversation 108

Me: Ming sold the ute, Ants! I have some cash in my pocket – whoohoo!

Anthony: Happy Valentine’s day to you too, Jules.

Me: What? We’ve never celebrated Valentine’s day; you always thought it unnecessary!

Anthony: People change.

Me: Usually people change their minds about things when they are still alive, if you don’t mind me saying so, Ants.

Anthony: I know Val now – he is a great guy! And he has invented a few new ways of saying “love” in English. Like, “You are the sun underneath the carpet I sweep.”

Me: No wonder he was martyred.

Anthony: So how much did Ming get for the ute?

Me: Why?

Anthony: Just curious.

Me: Yes, well, I’m not sure now as I’ve put it under the carpet, Ants.


Imagined conversation 107

Me: I think I might have been on the brink of making a mistake today, Ants.

Anthony: Surely not, Jules! What, how, when, and why?

Me: Your armchair.

Anthony: What about it?

Me: Well, it was already pretty stained from age, you sitting in it for so many years, and now Jack has adopted it as his favourite place to sleep, and … quite frankly I would like to get rid of it.

Anthony: Who the hell is Jack?

Me: Your Irish terrier, Ants – have you forgotten?

Anthony: Oh yeah, sorry. I thought you were talking about another man.

Me: So, anyway, I asked Ming if he would object to me tossing the chair out rather than having it reupholstered and guess what he said?

Anthony: He’s young so I’m sure he told you to get rid of it.

Me: No! He said, “Isn’t that Dad’s chair?”


Imagined conversation 106

Me: Happy birthday for yesterday, Ants! Ming, his partner, my mother and I all toasted you with green juice before eating our kebabs and gozleme.

Anthony: Green juice? Where was the champagne? And what the hell is gozleme? Is this one of your diets?

Me: No!

Anthony: Let me get this right: no champagne for my birthday.

Me: Yeah, sorry about that but….

Anthony: No message from you ON my birthday which, by the way, was yesterday, and I also overheard you saying that I would have been 85 when, as your mother pointed out, I actually would have been 86.

Me: Math isn’t my forte, Ants, you know that! Anyway don’t you automatically revert to your favourite age in Heaven?

Anthony: Yes, but still … no champagne? It’s a shock, Jules.

Me: Other things were happening yesterday that distracted me, Ants – fires down south, the covid disease, earthly stuff you have obviously forgotten.

Anthony: Fair enough, well said. I apologise. How is my Ming?

Me: Just like you – it’s uncanny. He has the surety of the unsurety down pat (or the reverse, not sure): suffice it to say, he feels omniscient.

Anthony: That’s my boy!

Me: (Sigh) I think I might get that bottle of champagne after all.

Anthony: Don’t you still miss me, Jules?

Me: Stop fishing – yes, of course, but you are also like a thorn in my side.

Anthony: Sorry, Jules.

Me: Loving you is/was the most difficult thing I have ever done but the repercussions of that are unbounding.

Anthony: Is that a good or a bad thing?

Me: Happy birthday, Ants, for all of the yesterdays.


Imagined conversation 105

Anthony: You are procrastinating, Jules.

Me: Yes, I know, I know – the abandoned, relinquished/ unwritten, rewritten, over-written tome of my life with you!

Anthony: Or else your life with me?

Me: That’s the same thing, Ants! It should be the other way around, silly; your life with me – there is a subtle difference.

Anthony: So you want to be the star?

Me: Of course not! Can we change the subject please?

Anthony: Is it going to be detrimental to my character?

Me: I just wanted to ask you about why you don’t like walnut wood.

Anthony: What?

Me: And why you’re such a snob about not liking walnut furniture.

Anthony: I’m not quite sure where this is going, Jules, but I just prefer jarrah and mahogany.

Me: So you saw the Italian chess set I bought Ming for Christmas?

Anthony: Yes – rather extravagant if you don’t mind me saying.

Me: Before buying it, I asked the owner of this extraordinary shop to check what kind of wood went into the making of this chess set, because I didn’t want walnut.

Anthony: Loyal to my every whim – I’m proud of you, Jules!

Me: The owner of the shop did her research and discovered that Ming’s chess set was made of a combination of mahogany and walnut.

Anthony: Walnut?

Me: I even told the shop owner that my deceased husband didn’t like walnut! She had the grace to look away as I made the decision to buy the chess set for Ming, walnut and all.

Anthony: Well, I just had a look and it’s mostly mahogany anyway….

Me: The point is, Ants, even though you weren’t a control freak per se, you really influenced the way I still think and feel about all sorts of things.

Anthony: Like what?

Me: You were just as gentle with your roses, camellias and daffodils as you were with polishing your furniture. You cared about these things, and I learned to care about these things too, but….

Anthony: But what?

Me: I LOVE walnut!

Anthony: Okay. I’m a bit shocked at your taste but go for it, Jules. So when will you finish the book?

Me: As soon as you stop talking, Ants.